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On the Hill: Medicaid Eligibility, ACA Repeal

While Congress is in session for only a couple of days this week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has marked up two bills — both focused on income eligibility for Medicaid.

The first bill would ensure that large, lump-sum lottery winners are deemed ineligible for Medicaid. The second focuses on spousal income for Medicaid eligibility. Consideration of a third bill, the “Lower Drug Costs Through Competition Act,” was delayed, pending further bipartisan review.

Meanwhile, America’s Essential Hospitals submitted a statement for the record for a Jan. 27 House Committee on Ways and Means hearing on the effectiveness of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the association does not have a formal position on the individual mandate, the statement stressed the value of coverage for vulnerable populations. The association noted that while coverage does not guarantee care, it is a key means to achieving access to care. Further, potential increases in uncompensated care due to a lack of coverage could hit essential hospitals especially hard, as they operate on zero percent margins, on average.

In other ACA news, President Trump has suggested that repeal, repair, or replacement efforts might go into 2018. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who vows that an ACA repeal will be completed this year, also clarified over the weekend that “repair” of the ACA must include a full repeal of the law.

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About the Author

Jocelyn Wiles is the manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.